A MAGNIFICENT EMERALD CHANDELIER
This rare emerald-coloured and gilt-brass mounted chandelier can be attributed to the workshop of William Parker and Sons. William Parker is without doubt one of the most luminous names in the history of English chandelier making and he is credited with the introduction of neo classical elements into chandelier design. Parker operated out of Fleet Street from 1762, his first attributable work was commissioned by the Furnishing Committee of the New Assembly rooms, Bath, in 1771. His work for the assembly rooms was celebrated enough at the time to be satirised by Thomas Rowlandson, according to Martin Mortimer ‘Parker was the man of the moment, competent reliable fashionable. He provided the most splendid suite of chandeliers in the country at that for one of the most fashionable centres.’ Parker’s renown was only to grow: he was commissioned to provide chandeliers for the Guildhall in Bath in 1778; in 1782 he supplied a pair of twelve light chandeliers to the 5thDuke of Devonshire for Chatsworth amongst other lighting; from 1783 to 1787 he furnished Carlton House for the Prince of Wales and his creations also adorned the White Drawing Room at Houghton Hall and the home of William Beckford during his exile in Lisbon.
The form of this chandelier relates to a small group by Parker which are very similar in form and feature similar decorative devices. This group all have a scalloped corona, many also include a tier of spikes and scrolled branches arranged around and positioned below a baluster stem and are decorated throughout with festoons and pendants. As in the current example, the use of gilt-brass decoration is notable, especially the bands to the balusters where the current chandelier differs in the use of decorative collars to the arms which enhance the deep emerald colour. The form of the ormolu bands closely matches that illustrated on the cover of the book by M. Mortimer, The English Glass Chandelier, Woodbridge, 2000, that was with Hotspur Ltd., London. Further, Mortimer illustrates a chandelier originally supplied to the Earl of Lincoln at Clumber Park Nottinghamshire (op.cit., plate 48, p.102) which has similar metalwork and overall form and which Mortimer describes as '..the metalwork was gold-plated, the arm mounts, and even the suspension shackle were cast with acanthus foliage, the leaves matt, their veins burnished.'
A further related example is hanging in the Yellow Drawing Room at Chatsworth which was supplied by Parker to William, 5th Duke of Devonshire between 1782-83 and is illustrated by The Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth, The House, London, 2002, p. 175.
For whom this chandelier was originally supplied remains for the time unknown but the rare colour of the glass and the ornate and rich nature suggest that it was supplied for one of Parker's significant patrons.